From the Comments: Clarifying “Spirit” in Acts, Part 4

HolySpirit7Robert (Part 4),

1 Cor 12 is clear that we receive whatever gifts of the Spirit God chooses. We don’t get to pick. We don’t get to complain. We don’t get to brag. God chooses.

If I can’t heal or raise the dead, it’s because God has so chosen. If God wants to go 50,000 years without giving the power to heal, that would be his business.

In OT times, there were times when there were many prophets, and times when there were no prophets. God’s choice. There are no rules. There are no laws. God chooses.

(Jn. 3:8 ESV) 8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

I’m not a Cessationist. I believe the Spirit is still alive and active. But I’m no Pentecostal or charismatic.

I don’t blaspheme the Spirit by calling all amazing things the work of demons. I’m not gullible enough to believe all “miracles” are miracles. Some are frauds. Many are frauds. But I have no right to prejudge. The command is to “test the spirits,” not to “prejudge the spirits.”

Have an open mind. Be skeptical. Don’t be gullible. Don’t tell God what he cannot do. It’s not our place.

PS — I was taught the explanation for the Samaritans by Frederick Dale Bruner in A Theology of the Holy Spirit) many long years ago. (Great book but it’s a scholar’s book. It’s not beach reading.)

I’ve since learned that we should think of Acts as a narrative, not a book of rules. And the story follows the outline: Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, based on the words of Jesus to the apostles in Acts 1. If we see the big picture — the story of the spread of the gospel to the nations — then the pattern emerges. God is the star of the book, the protagonist, the one the book is about — as Father, Son, and Spirit. God is in charge of the unfolding of the story the world had been waiting for.

And when we see God in control and winning the victory for us, then it’s not so much about finding a hidden book of rules by which the Spirit is bound and compelled to operate. After all, God the Spirit is God and so not bound by rules. Rather, the Spirit, at God’s behest, is driving the story.

We aren’t in charge. Some hidden rulebook isn’t in charge. God is in charge — and if God wants the Samaritans in his church, then he’ll see that it happens.

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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9 Responses to From the Comments: Clarifying “Spirit” in Acts, Part 4

  1. laymond says:

    There are times when you write things that are so diametrically opposed,to other things you have written, I can’t imagine it came from the same mind.

  2. laymond says:

    Pro 29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

    Ecc 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

    Isa 29:24 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.

    Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Jhn 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
    Jhn 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

    OK, I quote all this to impress upon you that we as men are indwelled by our own spirit, given us at creation or man. and a spirit that is shaped by the life we live.
    Evil men have a spirit, and good men have a spirit. Or if you prefer evil spirits have a body as well as do good spirits.
    Perrsonally I prefer the former because I see the body was created before the spirit was given.

    let me take two of the quotes from above to state how I see a verse that has not been explained sufficently, although many have tryed.

    Pro 29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
    Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor: in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Mat. 5:3 speaks not of people who are (poor in spirit) but those who are blessed by an humble spirit. People who are not brought low by pride, the only thing the poor of that day had to have pride in, was they were children of God.

    Yes we have a spirit that indwells us, but it is the spirit of man, given him by God the creator, at man’s creation. I believe the life we live determines what that spirit grows into.

  3. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Is this the part of a man which will be judged? The part of a man which will become immortal?

    As you make the following statement, “Yes we have a spirit that indwells us, but it is the spirit of man, given him by God the creator, at man’s creation” then all mankind has exactly the same spirit.
    Those who have never accepted God must have all the same blessings as those who do.
    Rom 8:8-15 ESV Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (9) You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (10) But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (11) If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. (12) So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. (13) For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (14) For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (15) For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

    Paul says that those who do not follow God do not have the Spirit that he is communicating about. You said, “that everyone receives it at birth”. Something doesn’t fit the account in God’s Word.

  4. laymond says:

    Larry, a man will be judged on the life he lived, do you believe that, if not, why not? I read the bible to say , God gives life, and that life is the spirit of man, God also gives eternal life/spirit but first we will have to relinquish this one, in order to have it judged, deserving of eternity, or destruction. You can make what you want of this, but the bible tells us we will be judged “from the book of life” if our name is there. even Jesus had to relinquish his earthly spirit, I believe it is written “he gave up the ghost”

    “Laymond,
    Is this the part of a man which will be judged? The part of a man which will become immortal? ”

    You bet your eternal life it is Larry, you bet it is.

  5. laymond says:

    Larry, asked ” then all mankind has exactly the same spirit.” Larry let me answer by asking you a question, do you believe babies are born “good, or evil” or do you believe we all have the same chance, if taught both good and evil.

  6. laymond says:

    Larry said, “Those who have never accepted God must have all the same blessings as those who do.”
    If this is a question,? I will let scripture answer.

    Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
    Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
    Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
    Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

  7. laymond says:

    I suppose Larry was satisfied with my answers to his questions, since there was no rebuttal forth coming, and the spirit is not one of the subjects banned from discussion on this blog.

  8. Profile photo of Kevin Kevin says:

    On the other hand, it is completely plausible that Larry is not reading your comments…

    I lose track of all the comment sections in which I am following / posting. Thought this might be one, but it’s not.

  9. laymond says:

    Kevin, could be Larry was just tickled pink with my answers Anything is possible .

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